The Lilac-breasted Roller, an iconic African safari bird

The Lilac-breasted Roller is the national bird of Botswana. This beautiful multicolor bird is the African symbol of peace, or the equivalent of the White Dove. After a squabble between two villages, the chiefs would bury their spears along with a Lilac-breasted Roller bird as a sign of end of war. Quite the story!

Lilac breasted Roller - African safari

Lilac-breasted Roller standing on a branch. This photograph was created at the Savuti Game Reserve, Botswana.

ISO 1000 | f/4 | 1/2000 | Av Mode no manual exposure compensation | AI servo rear focusing

This photograph was created with the Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM lens (Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM review), the Canon EOS 5D mark II handheld. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

The Lilac-breasted Roller photograph above was create early in the morning, while the bird was fluffing its feathers to stay warm. During the dry season, temperatures are cooler in mornings and evenings. The lack of water at that time of the year creates a unique opportunity to see and photograph a lot of savannah animals while they head to water wholes to drink. On my first African safari, I remember calling out to our guide almost each time I could spot a Roller. Fortunately, I quickly realized that they are easy to spot thanks to their colors and number of individuals. If you come with me to Botswana and the Victoria Falls, you will not miss them!

Lilac breasted roller in flight - Botswana

Lilac-breasted Roller in flight. This photograph was created at the Savuti Game Reserve, Botswana.

ISO 1600 | f/4 | 1/3200 | Av Mode no manual exposure compensation | AI servo rear focusing

This photograph was created with the Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM lens (Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM review), the Canon EOS 5D mark II handheld. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

This Lilac-breasted Roller in flight with wings fully down is quite a nice creation. However, my regret is that the sun angle is really off. If my shadow had been pointing straight at the bird the results would have been even more stunning! Colors would have popped more and there would not be that wing shadow along the neck of the bird. Fortunately, the Detail Extractor tool from NIK Softwares did a great job at recovering that area. I also really like the position of the tail!

Lilac-breasted Rollers are quite the aerial acrobats, especially during breeding season as males try to impress females with beautiful stunts. They soar high in the sky, then dive in rolls to display their beautiful colors.

Botswana and the Victoria Falls instructional photography workshop / $9,800 / limit 6 people / Sep 2014:

Did you like this colorful bird? Come along with me to the BOTSWANA & VICTORIA FALLS PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR next September 2014! There will be many opportunities to photograph Lilac-breasted Rollers. THE FIRST THREE REGISTRANTS WILL BENEFIT FROM A $500 DISCOUNT! There is an additional discount for accompanying spouses.

Botswana Victoria Falls photography tour

Spoonbills and shorebirds instructional photography workshop / $980 / limit 5 people / Mar 2014:

Don’t miss this great Roseate Spoonbill & shorebirds photography opportunity! This 3 day workshop will include three boat rides, with two to the Alafia Banks rookery and one to Dit Dot Dash. Alafia Banks is the very best spot in the state of Florida to photograph Roseate Spoonbills in flight. The rest of the time will be spent at the Fort Desoto Park.
Photography workshop at Alafia Banks

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Steven

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2 Comments

  1. Jan Mattix

     /  August 27, 2013

    Lilac-breasted Roller is so beautiful. Enjoy reading/looking at your blogs, thanks, Jan

    Reply

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